The Journey to the West by Wu Chengen

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Who is the hero or the protagonist in The Journey to the West: Monkey, Guanyin, Taizong, or Tripitaka? How can you evidence your decision?

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Of the four main protagonists in The Journey to the West, only two might qualify as true “heroes” in the mythic sense. Tripitaka, or Xuanzang, is the monk who sets off to find the sutras in India and bring them back to China. He is the primary protagonist in the story, and his religious observance is the impetus behind the entire journey. The other possible hero is Sun Wukong or the Monkey King—but there is some evidence that might stand in the way of his being the central hero.

Sun Wukong is the preeminent hero of the story, and he is the title character. The story is known as The Monkey King in many of its retellings, and the...

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